Behind-the-Curtain Reading


photo by David Wittig Photography

I'm giving a reading next week at the historic Zimmer Theater in Tuebingen, Germany (named for the Zimmer family, the poet Holderlin's caretakers during his madness).  I'll be reading with Marcus Hammerschmidt, a local poet with whom I've been working to translate some of my poems into German (we'll debut some translations at the reading).  

The Behind-the-Curtain is a fun structure for a Reading Series.  The audience doesn't get to meet or see the writers, who read from onstage with the curtain drawn.  It focuses the attention more on the verse than on the poor nervous poet; in the second half though, the curtain is pulled back and there are more readings and discussion. 

If you're in Southern Germany, come check it out; for those of you who will miss it, I'll post some images to this space and check back in after the fact. 

Tuesday, 5 June 8:00 pm

Review of Michael Dickman's "Flies" published

My review of Michael Dickman's book Flies is up on the Books and Culture website now.  You can read the whole thing here.

If there's anything that the onset (or is it an onslaught?) of e-books should teach us, it's that books themselves matter. For the most part, if the publishing industry crashes, I say they deserve it for keeping the public trust so poorly.

Case in point: the publication of Michael Dickman's new book of poems Flies, recently out from Copper Canyon Press, is one of the major events of the year for people who care about poetry. His first book, The End of the West, was the bestselling debut in the long history of that press, and if it was filled with a sagacious quietness that suggested an author twice Dickman's age, it was also filled with promise. Many of us reacted with a compound clause: that's amazing; I can't wait to see what he does next.

Part of that feeling comes from the fragility of Dickman's lines. His verses seem weightless at the same time that they feel enormous and heavy. That's not a hyperbolic contradiction: think of a blue whale and you have it—this slow, gigantic force. Or, picture the cover of that first book: a photograph by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (Untitled, 1960) depicting a hanging victim, who, due to the camera's trick and limit, seems to float, or even to fly up off the page, when he should be dropping.

The cover of Dickman's new book...